This article originally appeared in Tips on Life & Love from Simon & Schuster.
According to the timeless beauty Audrey Hepburn, “Happy girls are the prettiest girls.” But what constitutes a happy girl? It turns out making smart lifestyle choices will help you look and feel younger. It’s easy to believe that it doesn’t matter how we treat our skin, that a quick trip to the dermatologist’s office can fix all of our sins. But beware: 21st century living is taking its toll, and you can’t Botox away a lifetime of abuse.
Here are some modern bad habits that are making you look old before your time.
Netflix and Chill
Too much TV and lying around can have an adverse effect on your health as well as your skin. The most recent research shows that the optimal amount of exercise for increased longevity is 150 minutes a week, with 20 to 30 of those minutes being vigorous workouts. Exercise leads to higher bone density, as well as staving off diabetes and heart disease. And that means a healthy, youthful glow for a long, long time.
Your Daily Latte
Caffeine is a diuretic, and it dries out the skin, making you look more like a prune than a young nymph. The general water guideline for adults is six to eight glasses a day. But if you’re drinking a lot of coffee, you’ll need more. Try an extra cup of water and a serving of fruit for each mug of joe.
According to the latest research, it’s not the use of social media that causes stress, but the general awareness of the problems in other peoples’ lives that makes our frown lines grow. In other words, we are sympathetic to the pain that other people are facing, and that in turn stresses us out. And the first place stress shows up is all over our face. Be sure to take care of yourself before helping others: It’s time to close the laptop.
If you want your skin to be smooth and bright, a lifetime of overeating sugar is one of the worst things you can do for it. Sweets can damage the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin, making it appear older than its actual age. You’ll see the effects start at age 35, and get worse over time. The good news is, it’s all reversible; use skincare products with retinol to rebuild collagen.
Sleep is crucial to keeping your skin looking young and radiant. Not only does a lack of shuteye induce signs of premature aging, but it also makes skin less resilient to environmental damage from UV radiation. Another side effect: poor sleepers are more likely to be obese. While good sleep can elude us in our modern world, you have to make it a priority. It’s crucial to looking and feeling good.